Periodontal (gum) disease is one of the most common chronic diseases – it affects 7 in 10 adults. Severe gum disease, as indicated by extensive and repetitive inflammation/bleeding and even teeth which wobble, is experienced by 1 in 10 adults.
Gum disease is now considered to have a bidirectional relationship with Type 2 diabetes and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and perhaps other serious medical conditions. This means that inflamed gums can contribute to diabetes and COPD, and vice versa.
About 3% of older American adults (on Medicare) receive periodontal care at their dentist. And about 4% of older Americans with Type 2 diabetes receive periodontal care at the dentist. (There is no corresponding Canadian data).
So, 11% have several oral inflammation yet only 3% to 4% get treatment for this condition.
Hence, the important connection between managing periodontal disease and managing major chronic diseases is very limited.
To what effect? A recent analysis of American medical insurance claims shows that adults with multiple chronic conditions who receive periodontal care impose a much smaller cost burden on the healthcare system. They have fewer admissions to hospital and use the ER less. See the following chart.
So, the unmet need to manage oral inflammation is costing us all. We need to develop methods to integrate periodontal care with chronic disease management.
To learn more how our medicine can help with managing gum disease, please contact us.